Myanmar military releases 42 more child soldiers

September 3rd, 2012 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, Sep 3 (IANS) Myanmar military authorities released 42 more child soldiers from the armed forces Monday, a move to further end recruitment of under-age children in the armed forces, reported Xinhua, citing local media.

The 42 children, who are from across the country’s regions and states, were handed over to their parents in the presence of officials of the ministry of social welfare.

The move came after an agreement was signed between Myanmar government and the United Nations in late June on prevention of further recruitment and use of under-age children in the armed forces.

Action was taken against 201 officers for recruiting soldiers not in line with army’s rules and regulations, sources said.

The Myanmar defence ministry said from 2004 to July 2012, 600 child soldiers had been released from the army and reintegrated with their families.

Meanwhile, Myanmar and the UN started engagement in a dialogue on issues related to child soldiers five years ago. The two agreed to the appointment of a high level focal team from the social welfare ministry to engage with the UN Country Team and especially UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) on all issues related to children and armed conflict.

They also agreed as well as the setting up of a monitoring mechanism to find out the real situation in the country regarding child soldiers with a task force established.

Myanmar has made efforts and worked for ensuring not to recruit minors for military service, promising continuous supervision over the personnel concerned to ensure that they do not accept minors, and working according to the law, rules and regulations and directives.

Myanmar held that there are very few cases of recruiting minors for military service in the armed forces, saying that all new members must reach the age of 18, denying some foreign media allegations that the Myanmar armed forces has child soldiers and using them in forward areas.

The country formed the Committee for Prevention against Recruiting Minors into Army in January 2005.

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